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Lake County Councilman Jamal Washington

Lake County Councilman Jamal Washington, D-Merrillville, arrives outside the Merrillville Police Department late Friday morning with criminal defense attorney John Cantrell, center. Washington entered the police department to make a statement in a recent case of alleged domestic violence and was then arrested.

Some Region leaders deserve credit for — finally — appropriately condemning a Lake County councilman who again faces accusations of domestic violence.

The problem is the condemnation is about a year late.

It's easy — even natural — to get lost in the immense negatives of Lake County Councilman Jamal Washington's latest criminal charges.

It should be noted the victim in the latest case is attempting to recant her accounts of what happened. It also should be noted that as of Friday evening, police and prosecutors were pushing forward with the case anyway.

But in a Region mired in a culture of crimes committed by elected officeholders, it's also easy to chalk up Washington's latest felony domestic violence charges to "more of the same."

However, there are gems of appropriate behavior by some Region officials — leaders who condemned Washington in the wake of his conviction for battering his wife a year to the day before he faced a rash of new charges for allegedly confining, battering and intimidating another female relative.

We also can find some encouragement in a public statement issued by Lake County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Wieser Friday, just hours after Washington was arrested in the latest case.

"There is no longer any reason that myself, as chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party, nor our members, including the precinct committeemen and vice committeemen, should any longer tolerate the continued allegations of criminal misconduct of Lake County Councilman Jamal Washington," Weiser wrote.

It was the sort of condemnation that should have been exhibited last year after Washington pleaded guilty to battering his wife.

Instead, about a month after that conviction, a majority of the council voted to elevate Washington to the status of council vice president.

Fortunately, some leaders at the time, including Lake County Council President Ted Bilski, showed disgust and ultimately pushed to rescind the vice president status.

Councilwoman Christine Cid, though she initially had voted to bestow the vice president mantel on Washington, later helped lead the charge to pull it away.

Perhaps these are signs of growing promise in Region politics.

Violence against women — or anyone — should neither be perpetrated nor tacitly approved of by anyone, especially our elected leaders.

Washington should have resigned his post a year ago. Now the county must endure a new round of accusations against one of its leaders.

But short of Washington doing the right thing now — something we have reason to doubt will occur — some local leaders are saying and doing the right things.

That's encouraging.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.